Well, we all occasionally enjoy a lazy day at the beach and this Hawaiian Monk Seal on Midway Atoll it seems was no exception. This species is endangered due to loss of habitat and commercial fishing where they are sometimes accidental by-catch. It’s estimated that there are about 1300-1400 surviving in the wild and hence the species is now protected by law.
On Midway, indeed throughout the Hawaiian Island chain, there are strict instructions given to visitors not to approach these animals too closely. This is where a super-telephoto comes into its own, the 500mm was used for these shots allowing for tightly framed images whilst still observing the needs of the seal. This was the only seal which I observed on the beach on Midway, and was fast asleep as can be seen, though I was fortunate enough to observe another one swimming along the coastline a little later. For further information about Hawaiian Monk Seals, National Geographic has quite a good page.
Those who follow me on Facebook or Google + might have seen a recent “MysteryMonday” picture which I posted with no real clues. It was of course a close crop of one of the above, seal photos.
These photographs are part of the Midway Atoll gallery. ~KD